A velvet divorce is taking place at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have been working on changing how they look at nonvehicular transportation. This has resulted in both communities expanding the scope of the bicycle advisory committee to include pedestrian traffic.
The Maple Ridge committee, yet to be approved by council, is being called the "Active transportation advisory committee." The bicycle advisory committee has often had discussions about pedestrians, but until now, it hasn't been part of their scope, said Maple Ridge resident Alex Pope, who is currently chair of the committee.
He said there aren't enough cyclists to warrant exclusive bike paths; rather separated, shared pathways like the one on the
Abernethy Connector from 224th eastward, is the type of infrastructure needed.
Pope wants the new active transportation committee to start looking at places that are dangerous for pedestrians, for example, 216th Street between Lougheed Highway and River Road where there are no sidewalks.
The Haney Bypass is another dangerous area for pedestrians.
The pathways for bikes and pedestrians, Pope said, need to lead to services. Studies have shown that 60 to 70 per cent of people have said they would use their bikes more if there were separated pathways and if they led to where they were going, he added.
"If we want people to use their bikes to get to shopping... or the West Coast Express, we need the pathways to get to those services," he said.
While the two towns are going their separate ways with their active transportation committees, they plan to meet twice a year because there are still "huge transition challenges" between the communities," Pope said.
"There are bike lanes in Pitt Meadows that stop at the border," he said.
Pope said Pitt Meadows a bit further ahead in bike infrastructure, but he puts that down to geography and luck - and some planning foresight.
Pitt Meadows has a bike lane on every major arterial road, he pointed out, and a separated bike lane from the Pitt River Bridge to Meadowtown Centre.
@ Copyright 2013